Motorcycling from Winthrop to Penticton

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After a relaxing evening at Sun Mountain Lodge, we set off on the shortest mileage day of our Okanogan Valley motorcycle trip, riding from Winthrop, Washington to Penticton, British Columbia.

Because it was a lower mileage day, we were able to stop in several towns along the way to grab something to eat, learn more about the local history, and stretch our legs on a few hikes.

Our first stop was in Twisp at Cinnamon Twisp Bakery so we could grab two “cinnamon twisps.” This local adaptation of a cinnamon roll is to die for and we always make time to stop when we’re in the area.

We timed our stop just right—as we were concluding, the sidewalks were becoming stuffed with people preparing for an Independence Day parade! We quickly finished our breakfast, navigated around the police barricades, and headed north on our journey to British Columbia.

I had a morning hike through McLaughlin Canyon on our list at the nearby town of Tonasket. We had a lovely ride north to our turnoff, but things went downhill from there. The road to the trailhead quickly turned to chip, then extremely loose gravel, and the road wound out through a remote area overlooking the canyon.

The drop offs were concerning but what really caused us alarm was the incline of the road. I stalled trying to go up one particularly steep hairpin curve where the gravel was deep and was seriously concerned I was going to drop my bike. Brian managed to get turned around and helped talk me through backing/sliding through the gravel until I could get righted.

Both of us were somewhat shaken and in complete agreement we did not have the right bikes or gear to safely continue. We nixed the hike, turned around, and maneuvered our way back to the main road and our next hiking destination in Oroville!

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Old Oroville Depot Museum

Oroville was a sleepy town but we managed to find our destination—the Old Oroville Depot Museum—a few blocks from the main road. I think we were both relieved to take off our gear and stretch our legs after our previous adventure, and I’m always interested in learning more about railroad history!

The woman working the depot was incredibly friendly and in addition to sharing a few highlights about the 1907 depot, she gave us a map and tips for finding our nearby hike. We enjoyed looking at the train artifacts and exhibits in what used to be the depot’s main waiting area, as well as a special exhibit on indigenous culture with some incredible beaded clothing items, pottery, and other goods on display.

Out back were some rail cars that we were thrilled to be able to enter and walk around! Often times railway museums allow you to walk around the engines and cars they have on site, but only in a few instances have we been able to climb aboard.

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The Similkameen Trail

After our time at the museum we headed down a local road to find the trailhead for the Similkameen Trail, which we wanted to hike out to the Girder Bridge. Brian was a bit concerned after our friend at the depot mentioned there were often rattlesnakes and bears on the trail! We kept our eyes peeled but thankfully only encountered one dog and some larger animal foraging around in a thicket along the trail that we couldn’t entirely make out. We convinced ourselves it was a deer and continued our hike!

We eventually made it to the bridge, which is visible from several viewpoints along the trail. There was also a parking area nearby so if you’re not inclined to walk from downtown as we did, you could drive all the way to this parking area and simply begin from the Taber trailhead, which is only a couple hundred feet from the bridge.

The bridge was updated in 2010 with a concrete deck so we were able to walk across it and enjoy views of the river below. It was getting extremely warm so once we concluded, we hoofed it back to the depot and our bikes, geared up, and continued north into Canada.

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Tickleberry’s Ice Cream

The border crossing was very simple—there were no cars there!—so we were able to quickly cross and drive north to Okanogan Falls for our final stop before Penticton.

I was getting pretty tired at this point and struggling to remain as alert as I needed to be on the bike so I was happy for the respite at the infamous Tickleberry’s ice cream shop!

There were 72 ice cream flavors to choose from—it was overwhelming—but we opted to share two of the sorbets. The servings are very generous and our choices were very good, especially the melon. Highly recommend!

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It was a short ride from Okanogan Falls to Penticton and our lovely AirBnB. There was a concrete pad behind the house that was just perfect for parking our bikes, and our hosts were warm and welcoming. I was happy to climb out of my gear and relax for a bit before we headed out on foot to find some food.

It was a full day riding from Winthrop to Penticton with lots of adventures along the way. What a great way to kick off our bike trip!

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